To Uber or not to Uber; that is the ques­tion

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“I ap­pre­ci­ate the abil­ity of ride-hail­ing ser­vices to pro­vide free­lance driv­ers with an ex­tra pay­check, but not ev­ery­one should ap­ply for that job. If these guys were any in­di­ca­tion of their work­force, you’d be bet­ter off tee­to­talling and driv­ing your­self.”

You think you’re be­ing re­spon­si­ble by not drink­ing and driv­ing. But what if the per­son you’ve hired to trans­port you isn’t do­ing any bet­ter be­hind the wheel?

A buddy came in from New York last week­end to take me to the Janet Jack­son con­cert. Since she was stay­ing at my place, we thought it would be eas­i­est to use one of the pop­u­lar ride-hail­ing apps to and from the show. That way we wouldn’t have to worry about park­ing or a DUI. But both trips proved wor­ri­some de­spite our ef­forts, since we had to keep a con­stant eye on each driver to make sure we ar­rived at our des­ti­na­tions safely.

Our first was Jose. I knew things didn’t look good when he couldn’t even find my house for the pickup. I don’t live in a neigh­bor­hood with a com­pli­cated street plan, but for some rea­son, Jose and I had to talk on the phone twice be­fore he could find us, stand­ing in the street, wav­ing him down.

I let Jose know we were go­ing to Chas­tain Park Am­phithe­ater and my friend and I re­laxed into another con­ver­sa­tion. A few min­utes later I looked through the win­dow, saw Jose was at­tempt­ing to get to I-75 North, and re­al­ized he was head­ing to Chas­tain ROAD near Ken­ne­saw State! I gen­tly got his at­ten­tion and told him how to get back to­ward Buck­head. Once we were in the vicin­ity of Chas­tain Park, my friend and I had to leave poor Jose in traf­fic and walk the last mile to the venue or we wouldn’t have made the con­cert on time.

It rained dur­ing the con­cert, so we were drenched and ready to get in­doors by the time our sec­ond driver ar­rived. Our ini­tial con­ver­sa­tion with James was good; we shared our pos­i­tive re­view of Janet Jack­son and lis­tened to his tales of pick­ing up fares from the To­mor­rowWorld elec­tronic mu­sic fes­ti­val. Then, as he was driv­ing up the ramp onto I-285, James said, “So, I take it you girls like coun­try mu­sic?”

Con­fused, my friend and I arched our eye­brows at each other; silently ques­tion­ing what coun­try mu­sic clues we might be giv- ing off. Then James be­gan mul­ti­task­ing: he pulled an iPod (yes, an iPod) from his con­sole while merg­ing into rainy traf­fic and thumbed to his coun­try playlist while talk­ing to some tech­nol­ogy to get Blue­tooth to pick up his new se­lec­tions. I kept an eye on the road and was silently thank­ful the drink lines had been too long at the show to dull my senses. Once the mu­sic be­gan play­ing, he sped up his pace and started jamming out. While some guy crooned about cheap beer, I fo­cused on a mantra from “Rhythm Na­tion” and on my need to get out of that car as soon as I could.

I ap­pre­ci­ate the abil­ity of ride-hail­ing ser­vices to pro­vide free­lance driv­ers with an ex­tra pay­check, but not ev­ery­one should ap­ply for that job. If these guys were any in­di­ca­tion of their work­force, you’d be bet­ter off tee­to­talling and driv­ing your­self.

Melissa Carter is one of the Morn­ing Show hosts on B98.5. In ad­di­tion, she is a writer for the Huff­in­g­ton Post. She is rec­og­nized as one of the first out ra­dio per­son­al­i­ties in At­lanta and one ofthe few in the coun­try. Fol­low her on Twit­ter@Melis­saCarter

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